The referendum he always wanted by @BloggersRUs

The referendum he always wanted

by Tom Sullivan

This is the last day of early voting in North Carolina. It had better be a good one. The current long-term forecast is for rain in our end of the state much of the day on Tuesday as well as in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. That goes for Atlanta as well, where the Georgia governor's race is polling at a what? A dead heat? Neck-and-neck? Given the racial tensions in play there, a lot of cliched descriptions have dark connotations hard to escape.

In Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports two federal courts have thwarted attempts by Republican candidate for governor and secretary of state Brian Kemp to reject absentee ballots over alleged signature mismatches:

The U.S. Court of Appeals has declined to stop an injunction that prevents Georgia elections officials from rejecting absentee ballots over signature discrepancies.

U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May issued the injunction last week as part of two separate lawsuits filed against defendants that include Secretary of State Brian Kemp. May declined on Wednesday Kemp’s request to pause the injunction while he appealed the decision.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals made the same decision Friday, issuing an order rejecting a similar request. That means May’s original order — which requires elections officials across Georgia to provide absentee voters more opportunities to rectify signature-related ballot issues — remains in effect.

Rain is expected as well in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker also faces a tight race for reelection against Democrat Tony Evers. An Emerson College poll of likely voters released Friday shows Walker trailing by 5 points. The Week reports that with unfavorable ratings of 50 percent, Walker is dangerously close to losing on Tuesday:
The best poll Walker has seen in the past few months has still only shown him up by one point, while Evers has maintained a lead of between two and 13 points in others. The Cook Political Report classifies this race as a tossup, while FiveThirtyEight gives Evers a 60.2 percent chance of defeating the two-term governor.
Early voting in Wisconsin is at 140 percent of 2014 levels. In fact, Axios reports 26 states have surpassed their 2014 vote totals during early voting (data via Michael McDonald's Elect Project). Some states may have near presidential turnouts before this is over. There are a lot of assumptions wrapped up in what that means. What percentage of party registrants will vote with another party? Which way will the independent voters break? What will Election Day turnout look like?

Axios samples some of the largest early vote totals:

  • Texas, where 4.3 million have already voted compared to 2 million total early votes in the last midterm election.
  • Tennessee, where over 1.3 million people have already voted. In 2014, the total was 634,000 early votes.
  • Florida voters have already cast more than 4 million votes, compared to 3.1 million.
The election on Tuesday (Why Tuesday?) will be "the purest midterm referendum on a sitting president in modern times," writes Dana Milbank:
Will we take a step, even a small one, back from the ugliness and the race-baiting that has engulfed our country?

Or will we affirm that we are really the intolerant and frightened people Donald Trump has made us out to be?

Unprecedented early turnout suggests the country agrees this is the referendum on Trump Trump wanted. The outcome could answer Milbank's questions.

Even in the "heartland," there are signs Trump's white nationalism has worn thin. “That’s just Trump being Trump” isn't playing there anymore. At least, not in Iowa City, where as "an issue of grave moral and ethical import" the Press-Citizen Editorial Board urges "all voters to turn in a straight-party ballot for Democrats":

The Republican party of the United States has allowed its proud history to be hijacked by a leader who gleefully spreads lies and dangerous conspiracy theories, malevolent rhetoric, barely disguised racist dog whistles and calls the media “the enemy of the people.” Women, Mexicans, the disabled, the transgender, the poor, African-Americans – almost any single subset of the American populace not straight, white and reasonably wealthy – has been targeted by this President.

And the rank and file Republicans – up and down the ballot – have either stood silently by or issued only the faintest, mildest condemnations of the President’s words and actions, fearing the wrath of his political base and Twitter account.

Until that changes, the paper will not endorse any of them. Neither should the rest of us.

[h/t JR]

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